The law on waste segregation was established way back in the year 1992. The Municipal Corporation of Mumbai had issued a directive to the citizens that if you do not segregate the waste, then we will not collect the waste. This was in the year 1992, we are now in 2018. There has been a Supreme Court law established on this, but still a basic wet and dry segregation is a challenge to implement on the ground. People just refuse to do it. Why do they do that? It is due to ignorance plus the fact that there is a lack of understanding that every action is related to the environment. That health is connected to the environment.

Mumbai has had poor air quality non-stop since the past year. Recently, we had worse air quality than the national capital of Delhi. Most of the city of Mumbai is under construction. All of our waste is being burnt. And the fact is that if you are such a dense population within limited land mass then it is going to have an impact on health.

If we truly want to make India Swacch Bharat, then we as citizens need to start doing that. We as citizens need to start celebrating all festivals in an environment friendly way. Our celebrations need to reflect that understanding of the environment: that we cannot be wasteful consumers. We cannot use the premise of a celebration to harm the environment. Whether it is a religious festival or the kite festival or a wedding celebration, that awareness and that consciousness has to come to change and implement change.

It has to become a human choice that we all make. In fact, I don’t even understand the concept of having big birthday parties for little children. You are teaching a little child to be wasteful. The idea of happiness in consumerism is flawed and detrimental for the environment.

(Dia Mirza’s view as reflected in an interview to